Monday, October 11, 2010

You Take My Breath Away

We arrived at the trailhead just as the sun was peaking over the horizon. This time of year heat was not as great a concern as it would have been in high summer. We arrived early that cool autumn morning; not because we were trying to avoid the heat. Rather, it was the 4 hour drive that lay ahead of us that had forced the predawn wake-up. We hoped to spend at least a few hours on the trail before continuing down the road to Uluru.
As I strapped on my backpack I was relieved to have arrived so early. I knew that as the sun climbed high into the sky the solitude that we were about to be offered would quickly disappear as the throngs of day trippers arrived at Kings Canyon. Our goal was to quickly hike the 6 kilometer Rim trail, and then hopefully have some time on the Ernest Giles Trail. We needed to be on the road no later than one o’clock if we were to arrive at Uluru for the world famous sunset.
The trail quickly took us from the canyon floor up towards the rim. It didn’t take long to understand why so many refer to the 500 step climb Heart Attack Hill. Had the climb not taken our breath away the panoramic view from the top would have. In addition to an unobstructed 360° view we were also able to peek down the 270 meters to the canyon floor. We stood in silence as we contemplated how the forces of nature had etched the amazing landscape that lay before us.

As we walked the rim we became aware that the masses of humanity had arrived. Fortunately, the trail is only one way, and we were at least an hour ahead of anyone else.
In just over an hour we reached the intersection of the Rim Walk and the Earnest Giles Track. For once, time was on our side, and since we were well ahead of schedule we had a couple of hours to explore the 21 kilometer trail. As we followed the meandering path that lead away from the towering wall of the grand canyon the solitude stolen by the masses behind us soon returned and our only company was spinifex pigeons. With each step it became more and more obvious that the long distance track was not well traveled and we assumed that we had left the highlight of the park behind us. Thus, we were completely taken by surprise when the rugged canyon walls were replaced by dozens of mounds. For as far as we could see we were surrounded by the 100- meter tall, beehive-like formations. I was reminded of the structures built by the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas and it was almost unbelievable that such landforms could be created by anything other than man. The trail gradually climbed and soon we were able to observe the landscape from a heightened vantage point. The rippling red rocks that lay before us we unlike anything I had ever seen. Once again I found myself breathless, but this time not from the climb. It was the majestic landscape that lay in front of us that took my breath away.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Maya, wow what an amazing place. I enjoyed reading about your hike and in describing the emotions that filled you as you looked upon this incredible landscape. Great photos.

    Thanks so much for sharing.